The Elmira Jackals clawed back from deficits on three occasions tonight at the Amway Center against the Orlando Solar Bears forcing the game into overtime and securing a point but were outdone in the end by Eric Baier's overtime game-winner.
The Jackals jumped on the Solar Bears in the opening frame testing goaltender Rob Madore with a series of shots who appeared to be up to the task early on. Despite the Jackals outshooting and out-chancing the Solar Bears throughout the first 20 minutes, Orlando struck first in the dying seconds of the period. Eric Faille forced the puck into traffic from the corner and as the puck laid just outside the crease Eric Baier swung through stealing the puck from Alex Vazzano's poke-check attempt and burying it for his seventh goal of the season with 14 seconds remaining in the opening frame.
Elmira broke through early in the second period with a beautiful passing play deep in the Orlando end. Nathan Oystrick laid the puck down the wall from the point to Mark Bennett below the goal line who dropped a pass to Tyler Currier and the former Solar Bear dropped the puck yet again to Matt Garbowsky in the low slot. Garbowsky patiently out-waited Madore and toed the puck around the netminder depositing it for his second goal of the season.
Orlando regained the lead at 9:11 of the second period as Nicklas Lindberg played the puck behind the Jackals net to Brady Vail who threw a blind backhand pass to the slot to Jack Rodewald for his 10th goal of the season.
Just over a minute later the pesky pack tied the game as Kevin Clare worked the puck over to Zach Cohen who fed a pass out of the corner to the slot for Mark Bennett's backhand strike. Bennett's sixth goal of the season came at 10:22 of the second period.
However, Jack Rodewald surfaced again later in the second period regaining the Orlando lead with his second goal of the night and 11th of the season. Eric Faille forced the puck into the slot to Matt Rupert which tipped to Rodewald in front of the net who pulled it from his backhand to the forehand for the power-play goal.
The Jackals entered the third period trailing by one but utilized the power-play to even the game at 12:01 of the final frame of regulation. Justin Bernhardt and Cason Hohmann worked the puck on the man advantage and played it up to the point where Kyle Bushee gathered it and fired a slap shot past Madore for his third power-play goal in the last four games tying the game 3-3.
Sixty minutes wasn't enough to provide a winner so the game went to overtime and at 3:41 Eric Baier took a pass from Eric Faille then streamed down the right wing side and fired the game-winner over Vazzano's shoulder.
Alex Vazzano turned aside 26 of 30 shots faced but suffered the loss. Rob Madore stopped 52 of 55 shots faced to earn the win.
Note: The Jackals fired a season-high 55 shots on goal.
Don't miss a minute of the action with Jackals season tickets! Call (607) 734-7825 or visit jackalshockey.com to order your season tickets today!
Follow the Jackals at www.jackalshockey.com, on Facebook, Twitter (@JackalsHockey) and Instagram for all the latest news and updates.
Group tickets are a great way to entertain employees, co-workers, clients, friends and family. For more information on discounted group tickets and a list of group benefits, call (607) 734-7825 or visithttp://www.jackalshockey.com/groups/.
Officially licensed Elmira Jackals replica team jerseys, apparel and headwear can be purchased online at: http://www.jackalshockey.com/
February 17: Elmira Jackals vs. Wheeling Nailers - 7:05 p.m. EST. Click here to purchase tickets or tune into 1410 WELM AM for all the live action!
February 19: Elmira Jackals vs. Adirondack Thunder - 7:05 p.m. EST. Click here to purchase tickets or tune into 1410 WELM AM for all the live action!
February 20: Elmira Jackals vs. Adirondack Thunder - 7:05 p.m. EST. Click here to purchase tickets or tune into 1410 WELM AM for all the live action!
February 21: Elmira Jackals at Manchester Monarchs - 3:00 p.m. EST. Watch every Jackals road game on WETM-2 or tune into 1410 WELM AM for all the live action!